Child poverty

Chapter summary: Child poverty

Fewer children in poverty: is it a public priority?

The coalition government has maintained Labour’s target to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and has identified a number of key causes, including family breakdown. Do this target and diagnosis reflect public priorities and views?

Most people accept child poverty in Britain exists and do not expect it to fall. There is disagreement about why children live in poverty, although the most popular explanations support the government’s view.

  • Four in ten (43%) say there is “some” child poverty in Britain; another third (36%) think there is “quite a lot” Around half (51%) think child poverty will increase in the decade ahead.
  • Among the many reasons given for child poverty, the most frequently cited are parents having drug and alcohol problems (75%), parents not wanting to work (63%), family breakdown (56%), lack of education among parents (51%) and parents being out of work for a long time (50%).

An overwhelming majority support action to reduce child poverty, with most people seeing this as a task for central and local government.

  • Eight in ten (82%) consider it “very important” to reduce child poverty in Britain, while another 16% think it is “quite important”.
  • Eight in ten (79%) say central government should be responsible for reducing child poverty. But large minorities say people living in poverty including parents (46%) or their friends and relatives (32%) should be responsible.

Download the full chapter

Download chapter